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PROLOGUE                             13
heart at one, is no easy state of grace to attain to. For it involves no lefss than the salvaging of an old culture, like the sorting of family treasures, and even the connoisseur's eyes are sometimes deceived and his fingers sometimes falter. It requires courage and that rare thing, honesty, and that still rarer thing, a constant questioning activity of the mind,
But he has a distinct advantage over the foreign observer. For he is a Chinese, and as a Chinese, he not only sees with his mind but he also feels with his heart, and he knows that the blood, surging in his veins in tides of pride and shame, is Chinese blood, a mystery of mysteries which carries within its bio-chemical constitution the past and the future of China, bearer of all its pride and shame and of all its glories and its iniquities. The analogy of the family treasure is therefore incomplete and inadequate, for that unconscious national heritage is within him and is part of himself. He has perhaps learned to play English football but he does not love football; he has perhaps learned to admire American efficiency, but his soul revolts against efficiency; he has perhaps learned to use table napkins, but he hates table napkins, and all through Schubert's melodies and Brahms' songs, he hears, as an overtone, the echo of age-old folk songs and pastoral lyrics of the Orient, luring him back. He explores the beauties and glories of the West, but he comes back to the East, his Oriental blood overcoming him when he is approaching forty. He sees the portrait of his father wearing a Chinese silk cap, and he discards his Western dress and slips into Chinese gowns and slippers, oh, so comfortable, so peaceful and comfortable, for in his Chinese gowns and slippers his soul comes to rest. He cannot understand the Western dog-collar any more, and wonders how he ever stood it for so long. He does not play football any more, either, but begins to cultivate Chinese hygiene, and saunters along in the mulberry fields and bamboo groves and willow banks for his exercise, and even this is not a "country walk" as the English understand it, but just an Oriental saunter, good for the body and good for the soul. He hates the word "exercise." Exercise for what? It is a ridiculous Western notion. Why, even the sight of respectable grown-up men dashing about in a field for a ball now seems ridiculous, supremely ridiculous; and more